Adventures in Babywearing
Adventures In Babywearing
“What is that contraption?” Ahhh. The dreaded questions us babywearing caregivers all get asked at one time or another. What we all want to scream at the Nosey Nancy or Staring Susan is highly inappropriate for blog writing, so I’ll just say we passively laugh and explain them away.
I have three children under three years old, and I venture out of my house daily. No exceptions, often multiple places a day *GASP*. Babywearing has not only become second nature to me, but a bare minimum for survival. I’m sure there are a lot of moms out there wondering where to start and intimated by the vast amount of options of the great unknown (AKA the internet). I figured I’d give a few basics for those just getting their toes wet, so let’s dive in! Just kidding. “Just the toes, Liz-just the toes.”
The three most basic types of carriers consist of wraps, slings, and SSC’s (soft structured carriers). Within these groups there are dozens and dozens of brands to choose from. Brands can range from low quality to high quality-and this is one of those things that you really do get what you pay for (unless it’s “market value” but we will save that for another day.)
Breaking it down by age/weight of child-I’ll do my best to offer advice on what type of carrier and recommend corresponding brands.
Newborn-6MO/up to 15LBS: (Stretchy) Wraps
Now, this is really just my personal preference-but having three infants very close together I’d like to say I have a pretty fair analysis. Most stretchy wraps are rated for up to 35#, but realistically thats a lot of weight and not a lot of support. Wraps are perfect for the squishy stage given the soft blanket like quality. If you decide you really like the technique of wrapping beyond the light infant stage-look into handwovens-they offer a world more support! Brands to look into for stretchy wraps: Happy Baby (https://happybabycarriers.com), and Solly Baby Wraps (https://www.sollybaby.com).
Infant/Early toddlerhood-6MO-18MO/up to 35LBS: Slings/SSC/Onbuhimo
Ring slings really are in a world of their own. There so many options as far as fabric/support/length etc go. If you have a lighter baby a single linen will be sufficient, and then eventually a double linen. Brands: Poppet (https://www.poppetslings.com).
If your babe is getting bigger look into silk, Matka is an extremely supportive fabric and still reasonably easy to keep clean. Brand: Proverbs 31 Heart Ring Slings (https://www.proverbs31heart.com)
This weight group is an in between area for me and can really depend on personal preference-again, this is just mine and it also really depends on the activity that’s being done while babywearing. Strolling through the park or taking IG photos-sling. Trying to actually get chores done at home or grocery shop-SSC. My favorite SSC brand is Happy Baby. They are reasonably affordable, extremely comfortable (even with my 35# toddler), and aesthetically pleasing. Let’s be honest-if I can wear my baby and look good doing-that’s a no brainer-that being said, there are other company’s out there that make really great products-Tula (https://babytula.com) and Sakura Bloom (https://www.sakurabloom) to name a few. Onbuhimos are a great options for those of us who feel the waist strap is unflattering as there isnt one. Although the Happy Baby waist strap can be adjusted to go anywhere on the waist and can look extremely flattering, even on those of us still hauling around some extra brownie-I mean baby-weight. The waist strap adds a level of comfort and support for baby, thus allowing for much longer carries.
Slings are generally rated up to 35LBS, however I found my body pitching a fit for carries longer then quick ups once my toddler hit 25LBS. At this age it’s really beneficial to have an SSC/Onbuhimo that you are comfortable in for wearing your toddlers. Again, look into Happy Baby Carrier, Tula, Sakura Bloom or Lille‘baby (https://www.lillebaby.com).
The number one thing to remember when babywearing is safety. Is your carrier certified and compliant? I can’t stress enough how important this is. Fabrics are tested to withstand triple the amount of the highest approved weight for each particular carrier to ensure the safety of your baby. Brand owners jump through a ton of hoops and have earned the right to my business, and should yours also. I’m also passionate about hip healthy carriers. Please look into the Hip Dysplasia Institute Hip Healthy Brand List (https://hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/prevention/baby-carriers-seats-and-other-equipment/hip-healthy-products/).
Quick & Easy Checklist:
Close enough to kiss?
Solid “M” leg shape? (Knees higher then bum)
Spine aligned and supported. (No slumping)
Like I said earlier, we really are just dipping our toes in here-there is a whole world that awaits you and your littles babywearing journey! FB groups can be a great resource for this, as well as individual brand IG pages! https://www.facebook.com/groups/470500609982929/